Tuesday Dec 26 2017

Pakistan inspects shoes of Jadhav’s wife for suspicious object


ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities took the shoes of Kulbushan Jadhav’s wife, which she was wearing upon arrival in Pakistan, as the authorities suspected the presence of a foreign object, according to the Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson. 

The mother and wife of convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav visited Pakistan on Monday and met the arrested Indian national at the office of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad amid strict security.

Chetankul Jadhav, the wife of the convicted Indian spy, was given an alternate pair of shoes to wear after her shoes were removed. 

According to the FO, Chetankul's shoes were taken after authorities felt there was something fixed in them.

The shoes of Jadhav’s wife were kept for inspection, while all other belongings, including jewelry, was returned, confirm FO Spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Faisal.

Authorities were ascertaining whether the metallic object in the shoe was a camera or a recording chip, added the FO.

The FO added in its statement that India has levelled allegations after 24 hours of the visit and Pakistan does not want to get involved in a war of words. 

Pakistan's reply came after criticism from the Indian government which claimed that cultural and religious sensibilities were disregarded due to security.

"This included removal of mangal sutra, bangles and bindi, as well as a change in attire that was not warranted by security," said India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

It was also reported that Chetankul and Avanti were asked to wash their faces to wash away any makeup they were wearing. They were also asked to remove whatever jewelry they were wearing.

Upon returning from Pakistan, the wife and mother of the convicted spy met with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

According to reports in the Indian media, the meeting was held at Swaraj’s residence following which Jadhav’s mother and wife were taken to the Ministry of External Affairs for a debriefing.

The meeting

The meeting started at 2:18pm and lasted almost 40 minutes, according to the FO spokesperson.

Indian diplomats, including Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh, accompanied Jadhav's family and were present during the meeting, which was conducted in a specially prepared room via an intercom through a glass partition.

Foreign Office Director India desk Dr Fareha was also present during the meeting.

After meeting him at the FO, Jadhav's family was taken to the Indian High Commission.

Jadhav's mother had also thanked the Pakistan Foreign Office for allowing the meeting.

The roads leading from and to the FO building were closed to traffic for the meeting. Walkthrough gates were also installed outside the FO building amid strict security measures. 

ICJ proceedings

On April 10, 2017, Pakistan sentenced the RAW agent to death for carrying out espionage and sabotage activities in Balochistan and Karachi.

In a reaction to the move, Pakistan’s relations with neighbouring India tensed, and New Delhi approached the ICJ to hear the case.

On May 18, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to halt the execution of Jadhav until a final decision was made in the proceedings.

India then moved the ICJ to give it six months to file pleadings in the case, which the United Nations’ judicial organ had turned down in June this year. Later, New Delhi submitted its memorial (arguments) to the ICJ on September 13.

On December 13, Pakistan submitted its reply to the ICJ, dismissing India's stance in the case of the convicted spy.

In its counter-memorial, Pakistan stated that Jadhav is not an ordinary person as he had entered the country with the intent of spying and carrying out sabotage activities.

The reply also stated that Jadhav, who was a serving officer of the Indian Navy, does not fall under the purview of the Vienna Convention.

The case remains sub judice.

Arrest, confession, sentencing

Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel, was arrested on March 3, 2016 in a ‘counter-intelligence operation’ from Mashkel area of Balochistan for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities in Pakistan.

The incarcerated RAW agent, in his video statement, confessed to involvement in sabotage and espionage inside Pakistan, which has also been the crux of Islamabad’s case in the ICJ.

On April 10, a Field General Court Martial — under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, and Official Secrets Act, 1923 — awarded death sentence to Jadhav for espionage and sabotage.

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa ratified the sentencing by the army tribunal.

Jadhav has since been on the death row.